All about winning as Cobblers striker Akinfenwa realises his Wembley dream

WEMBLEY DREAM - Adebayo Akinfenwa
WEMBLEY DREAM - Adebayo Akinfenwa
Share this article

It has taken proud London boy Adebayo Akinfenwa a long time to get the chance to play at Wembley Stadium – and the Cobblers striker intends to make the most of it.

Akinfenwa is set to lead the line when Northampton square up to Bradford City in the npower League Two play-off final on May 18.

It will be the big man’s first appearance at the national stadium after 10 years as a professional footballer, and he can’t wait to sample the big-match atmosphere.

But he also isn’t contemplating anything other than the day ending in victory.

Akinfenwa has played in a play-off final before, and lost to Barnsley with Swansea City in 2006 and he doesn’t intend on going through that traumatic experience again with the Cobblers.

“Every footballer in all the continents wants to play at Wembley,” said Akinfenwa, following last Sunday’s 1-0 semi-final win over Cheltenham at Whaddon Road.

“But I don’t want to play at Wembley and lose.

“The main thing is to go out there and win.

“We have to try, as hard as it is going to be, to not get caught up in the occasion.

“We have to win the game, and then after that we can look at the videos and newspaper clippings and all that stuff. We have to go there and win.

“I have been to a play-off final and lost, and it is not a good feeling.

“It is going to be hard to not get caught up in the emotions of playing at Wembley, but it is not about talking about going there and then losing.”

Akinfenwa’s play-off final heartbreak came at the Millennium Stadium while Wembley was being redeveloped, and it was a tough afternoon.

“I played for Swansea in a play-off final, the game went to penalties and we lost,” he said.

“But we have some experienced boys in our camp, and hopefully that will help us.

“I don’t want to go through that feeling of defeat again, and it would be a beautiful thing to win promotion for these Cobblers fans that have been so great.

“I am really looking forward to it.”

A sub-plot to the Cobblers’ big day out at Wembley is whether it will Akinfenwa’s final game for the club.

The striker is out of contract in the summer, and it has long been assumed that he would be heading for pastures new this summer.

But Akinfenwa insists nothing has yet been decided.

“I am not going to lie, I don’t know what is going to happen,” said the 30-year-old.

“Everybody knows Northampton is my second home, so let’s get Wembley out of the way, hopefully we will get promoted, and then we will sit down and see what the future holds.”